INDEPENDENT NEWS

Good Food for Children Requires a Common Sense

Published: Thu 16 Oct 2003 02:30 PM
Media Statement from Carole Gibb, Executive Officer, NZDA
Good Food for Children Requires a Common Sense Approach
The New Zealand Dietetic Association is concerned that focusing on the individual components of a child's diet and labelling foods as good and bad may do more harm than good. Keeping this in mind, the announcement of the Children's Food Award "winners" by the Green Party is not a constructive means of promoting a healthy eating pattern.
Encouraging healthy eating habits and attitudes to food requires a common sense approach by parents, politicians and experts alike. Parents require consistent and positive advice and support to assist them in ensuring their children have a healthy and balanced diet.
The NZDA, which represents New Zealand dietitians and associated nutrition professionals, is urging parents to keep in mind the following points:
It is what you eat most of the time that matters. The basis of a healthy diet is variety, balance and moderation. Occasional treat foods are an enjoyable part of life for children. We need to encourage parents to get the basics right with their children's diets, not focus on what individuals believe they shouldn't be eating at all. No one food is inherently "bad". If it was "dangerous" or truly a chemical cocktail then that particular food would not be allowed to be sold for consumption.
Certainly in some instances, children's intake of particular foods does need significant improvement, but again a commonsense approach is needed. Any food, if consumed in excess, can be detrimental to our health and so getting the basics right is the most valuable first step we can take.
Eating breakfast is a must for children. Children need breakfast, and breakfast cereals and milk make a great combination for a good breakfast. Even those which contain sugar, consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, make a valuable contribution to nutrient intake
Don't be put off your food by scare-mongers and keep a healthy perspective on sensible eating. New Zealand's food supply is amongst the safest in the world and we are fortunate to have access to a diverse range of foods and beverages. It is up to parents to assist their children in making the appropriate choices from those foods.
Ends
Released by Jane Dodd, Network PR on behalf of NZDA

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